Monday, May 6, 2013

The Guilt Monster

It's a fine line to walk, this triathlon hobby I participate in.  I often tell my husband that it's a selfish thing that we do.  The training sessions can be long, meaning that our children (older and responsible, but still) are left to care for themselves sometimes.  The training sessions can be tiring, meaning that helping with homework, cooking supper, and doing the mundane responsibilities that are part of life can take longer and add a little more stress to things when you are physically and mentally drained.  There is work that, for my husband, means 12 hour days away from the house, and having to find time to fit in a run or a ride or a swim either at 4 in the morning or quickly at lunch or at 8 at night.  For me, I work at home in the mornings and I am on chauffeur duty every afternoon.  Fitting it every single thing that has to be done at work, at home, for the kids, and for me can be tough.  The guilt monster shows his scary face on a regular basis.

Naturally, I feel guilt about doing something expensive and time-consuming, being a mom and all.  I did sign some kind of invisible agreement when I gave birth swearing that I would devote every ounce of time, energy, and piece of myself to my children until they turn 18, right?  Right.

Martyrdom doesn't suit me at all.

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I envy the folks I know who either don't have kids, or whose kids are grown and they are able to devote all of their time to triathlon, or running, or sky diving, or glass blowing, or whatever so-called selfish hobby they've taken up.  I would be lying if I said I don't feel judged - even though I've never heard a cross remark from anyone besides my mother - about having children and dragging them to race weekends or going out on 3 hour training rides while they are at home or hanging out with their friends.

Should I have just waited until it was MY turn, until they are grown up and have moved on?  NO.  Why is that?

Because I saw an opportunity, and I took it.  Because I recognized the chance to improve my body and my spirit and be a more active mom and a happier mom, and I seized it.  Because I knew that my kids could learn that nothing worthwhile is easy, that it comes from hard work and falling down and picking yourself up and carrying on.  But yet, I still feel the weight of the guilt monster sitting on my shoulders.

Guilt is an ugly thing, and most times it is uncalled for.  But it isn't nearly as ugly as the pain of regret.

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